Gostivar, 14 July 2020 (MIA) – Dozens of wives, children, parents and young girls from Gostivar were victims of domestic violence in so far this year. In comparison to last year, there are fewer reported cases this time of the year. Psychologists warn that this phenomenon could skyrocket once the crisis passes and quarantines go out of use.
Numbers increase, victims ashamed to report
Domestic violence is becoming more and more visible, as shown with police data. From January until late May, there have been nine domestic violence felonies registered in Gostivar. In comparison to last year, sixteen such reports were made in those five months.
Physical violence was inflicted in six of these cases, and safety was jeopardized in three. During curfew hours, the violence in some families was terrifying. Two women felt their spouses’ wrath, subjected to axe and knife threats. In the three safety jeopardizing felonies, two victims are women – the wives, and a boy, the son, and the felonies were perpetrated by three men, spouses and a father.
In the reports, six of the victims: wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, and unwed wife, were subjected to bodily harm. The reasons listed for the infliction of the violence were alcohol and mental disorders.
Tetovo Police analysis linked to this phenomenon points to the fact that the scope is much greater and doesn’t portray an accurate depiction of reality.
“The bare numbers of reported cases and reports with which domestic violence is sanctioned legally don’t always portray the real condition of this safety problem, because a large number of victims don’t report this kind of violence, due to fear of prejudice, stigma, or economic dependency,” says Tetovo Police spokesman Marjan Josifovski told MIA.
An increase in domestic violence could be expected after the crisis subsides
A risk assessment and victim protection team works at Center for Social Work-Gostivar. Psychologist Bilen Karahasan warns of a possible surge in domestic violence cases as a consequence of the pandemic crisis and the traumas it causes.
“When this extraordinary situation subsides, we can expect a surge of new cases, because after trauma one can develop PTSD, which is when trauma surviving symptoms surface as a result of weakening of defense mechanisms,” Karahasan says.
The non-governmental sector warns that there is a phenomenon which follows after violence has been reported. Partners try to make up and they make promises they can’t keep, after which violence reemerges into the family.
The same data has been noticed in the police force that hunts the perpetrators
“A significant number of victims change their minds and take the reports back with statements certified by a notary. Some victims ‘relativize’ consequences, making them look better than they actually were, looking for nothing more than a police warning for the perpetrators, afraid of further consequences to their psychological and physical state,” Josifoski points out.
NGOs treating this issue are trying to raise awareness through campaigning, motivating victims to report their abusers and seek help in defiance of the shame and traditionalism that rules in families.
They note that there’s a national action plan in place for the Istanbul Convention enforcement in North Macedonia, as well as the existence of the Law on Prevention of and Protection from Domestic Violence.
Zoran G. Madjoski
Translated by Dragana Knežević